MELBOURNE expects four premiership players to return from injury after a loss coach Simon Goodwin describes as inevitable.

Half-back Christian Salem – who hasn't played since round one – Tom McDonald, James Harmes and Ed Langdon are all likely selections for Saturday night's clash against Sydney.

Salem (knee), McDonald (ankle), Harmes (hamstring) and Langdon (ribs) all missed the Demons' loss to Fremantle on Saturday.

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The result ended Melbourne's 17-game winning streak that included last year's premiership.

"It's just the reality of footy, you are going to lose," Goodwin told SEN on Monday.

"No team has gone through any season undefeated at any stage in the history of the game so it (losing) is going to happen.

"You don't want to lose but you get another set of information, it reaffirms what is important to you, what you need to be good at."

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Key backman Steven May will miss the MCG fixture against the Swans after being concussed in the first quarter in the loss to the Dockers.

"Normally we would have Tom McDonald, who we lost on the Friday heading into the game, who could go back for us," Goodwin said.

"We had to readjust, we were a little bit light on for talls down back and to Fremantle's credit, their system is very strong and to break down system you have got to win a lot of contests whether it be air or ground.

"And we weren't able to do that on the weekend."

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Goodwin doubted whether Fremantle had found a blueprint for others to follow to dismantle the Demons.

"We have those challenges for the last 18 months where teams have thrown different stuff at us and tried to break us down in various areas," he said.

"What we do as a group ... is we learn from those scenarios.

"There's areas of the game that reinforced to us on the weekend what we need to be strong at.

"If you ... give up territory and clearance like we did on the weekend and you can't win enough contests at air and ground (level), you're going to suffer the consequences against good teams and that was a really clear thing for us at the weekend."